Hungarian media vg.hu reported on January 23 that the Hungarian regulatory agency Regulated Activities Supervisory Authority (SZTFH) recently announced that it will take more stringent measures against violations of the sales of tobacco products to minors on the Internet, and will face High fines may reach 5 million to 500 million forints.
Regulators pointed out that a large amount of illegal tobacco trade has moved from underground markets to online, and online tobacco trade has become a major area of activity for young people, where they can easily purchase tobacco products. These online stores target young people directly, promoting fashionable, trendy but dangerous products through brightly colored pages.
SZTFH emphasized that because these violators circumvented local retail regulations and took advantage of the easier sales regulations in neighboring countries, this kind of online sales is illegal. For merchants who sell products online that are only sold in tobacco shops, fines may be as high as HUF 5 million to HUF 500 million. This fine also applies to the sale of all types of flavored e-cigarettes, including Elf Bar, etc.
In addition, SZTFH noted that these products can cause serious addiction problems and their composition is often not rigorously checked. Untested equipment may present a risk of overheating, explosion, or even serious injury. The agency also warns that customers may end up not receiving hazardous products from unvetted locations after paying.
To combat this problem, the SZTFH advocates changes in laws that prevent minors from smoking and restrict the retail sale of tobacco products. The changes expand the regulator's scope of action, allowing it to work with national media and communications regulators to block websites targeting local consumers that sell illegal products.